Strengthening Disability Advocacy Conference 2017
Getting into gear for the NDIS journey

Friday 15 September @ NAB The Hall


The NDIS trials are done and we’re now transitioning, region by region, to full roll out across Australia to be completed by 2020. The changes since trial are significant – Planners have been outsourced, the Quality and Safeguards Framework has been introduced and the External Merits Review has been replaced by the NDIS Appeals process.

Advocates are now shifting gear, turning their focus from the euphoric nationwide campaign that got the scheme established, back to assisting people with disability to navigate a new landscape where the signposts are not always clear.

Getting into gear for the NDIS journey will feature a keynote address and facilitated panel discussions looking back on the journey so far, how well the principles of choice and control are being embedded in NDIS policies and processes and what road blocks to avoid on the road ahead.

It’s a wrap

It’s all over for another year and it’s fair to say that we let the clutch out on the NDIS.  We heard from a dynamic range of speakers, welcomed a few last minute replacements and shared many experiences and ideas.   Choc tops and popcorn hit the spot at the screening of Defiant Lives and a national campaign to raise awareness of the value of advocacy (see latest news for more info) was muted in the final session on the ‘Gearing Up’ day.

Our roving reporter, Jeff Waters from Ethical News, was bouncing around all day gathering together comments from delegates which he compiled  in this video.


This conference is for anyone who is interested in strengthening and upholding the rights of people with disability. 


Defiant Lives

You are invited to join Sarah Barton, Director at Fertile Films, for this special pre-conference screening.

Defiant Lives introduces the world to the most impressive activists you’ve never heard of and tells the story of the rise and fight of the disability rights movement in the United States, Britain and Australia.

Featuring exclusive interviews with elders (some now deceased) who’ve led the movement over the past five decades, the film weaves together never-before-seen archival footage with the often-confronting personal stories of disabled men and women as they moved from being warehoused in institutions to fighting for independence and control over their lives.

Defiant Lives is a triumphant film full of extraordinary characters who put their lives on the line to create a better and very different world where everyone regardless of impairment is valued and can participate.


Defiant Lives Official Trailer from Sarah Barton on Vimeo.



Highlights from 2016

Last year’s ‘Putting rights centre stage’ conference  created a buzz that sent ripples out to the wider sector and into the mainstream.  To remind us of the key points, here is a short highlights video that encapsulates the passion participants experienced.


Conference supporters

The Strengthening Disability Advocacy Conference is hosted by DARU and is the flagship event for the disability advocacy sector in Victoria.  The conference planning committee is comprised of representatives from disability advocacy organisations. The team putting together SDAC17 includes:

  • Melissa Hale, Coordinator, DARU
  • Natasha Brake, Administration Officer, DARU
  • Melanie Muir, President, Disability Advocacy Victoria (DAV)
  • Llewellyn Reynders, Policy Manager, Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS)
  • Leah Katieva, CEO, Rights Information and Advocacy Centre (RIAC)
  • Pauline Williams, Program Manager, Action for More Independence and Dignity in Accommodation (AMIDA)
  • Dean Dadson, Project Officer, Self Advocacy Resource Unit (SARU)


Latest news

Session resources now available

The videos with Auslan and full transcripts are now available for all sessions. Go to the ‘Program’ tab and click through to the relevant session. Enjoy!

‘Advocacy Matters’ campaign born

Advocacy does matter.  It created quite a buzz during the final panel session of the day when Mary Mallett, CEO of Disability advocacy Network Australia (DANA),  announced that plans were underway to start a national ‘Advocacy Matters’ campaign. Delegates were more than happy to kick off the idea by demonstrating their support.     Further details … Continued

Conference tickets sold out

Ticket sales have closed early because we sold out!  The conference committee is pleased that we’ll be ‘gearing up’ in lots of good company.  The NDIS is certainly the talk of the town even if it isn’t always for the best reasons.  The presenters and panelists have a wide range of perspectives to share and … Continued

Strengthening Disability Advocacy Conference 2017: Sponsorship Announcement

  The Disability Services Commissioner is committed to ensuring that people with disability have a voice and presence in conversations about matters that affect them. Which is why The Disability Services Commissioner has proudly sponsored the Strengthening Disability Advocacy Conference 2017: Getting into Gear for the NDIS Journey, to enable 50 people with disability to purchase … Continued

Save the date!

The line-up is certainly gearing up! A team of strong  facilitators from the disability advocacy sector is already confirmed to lead panel  conversations with equally dynamic guests and Alastair McEwin, Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner, has agreed to present the Keynote Address. But wait! there’s more… Those who came to last year’s Rights Retrospective will remember the powerful preview of … Continued

Speaker invitations are going out

The theme for 2017’s Strengthening Disability Advocacy Conference is ‘Getting into Gear for the NDIS journey’. This conference will begin with a keynote address presenting an overview of the NDIS, setting the scene before the first panel takes stock of the road already travelled. We will look back and see how far we have come. … Continued
More conference news >